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Cymru to face the World Champions

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The Squads revealed

Ioan Cunningham has made seven changes to the side that faced Canada in the first round. In that respect he follows the pattern of other head coaches in ensuring that as many players as possible have the opportunity to see action on the field of play.

In the background lurks a secondary aim: to broaden and develop the player-pool for the next target, success at the World Cup.

Curiously, Allan Bunting has made the same number of changes. He shared the blame with the three assistant coaches (all male) for the loss in Wellington, and they have been concentrating on making the necessary adjustments to the Ferns’ game-management.

The Teams


15. Nel Metcalfe, 14. Jasmine Joyce, 13. Hannah Jones (captain), 12. Hannah Bluck, 11. Carys Williams-Morris, 10. Lleucu George, 9. Keira Bevan, 1. Gwenllian Pyrs, 2. Kelsey Jones, 3. Donna Rose, 4. Abbie Fleming, 5. Kate Williams, 6. Alisha Butchers, 7. Alex Callender, 8. Sioned Harries

16. Kat Evans, 17. Abbey Constable, 18. Sisilia Tuipulotu, 19. Bryonie King, 20. Bethan Lewis, 21. Meg Davies, 22. Robyn Wilkins, 23. Meg Webb

Out behind Nel Metcalfe faces her biggest challenge yet; the eighteen-year-old takes over from Jasmine Joyce at 15. She played there for the Under-20s in their win over Canada in Ottawa three months ago. There’s one proof of the value of age-grade games. Joyce switches back to her traditional wing berth.

Hannah Bluck and Carys Williams-Morris come into the back-line, while Lleucu George is allowed a belated start at No 10.

More changes in the pack where Donna Rose takes over from Sisilia Tuipulotu at tighthead. Sioned Harries brings her great experience and power to No 8.

The Black Ferns Squad

1 Kate Henwood, 2. Georgia Ponsonby, 3. Amy Rule, 4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos, 5. Chelsea Bremner, 6. Layla Sae, 7. Kennedy Simon (co-captain) 8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, 9. Arihiana Marino- Tauhinu, 10. Ruahei Demant (co-captain), 11. Mererangi Paul, 12. Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt, 13. Amy du Plessis, 14. Ruby Tui, 15. Renee Holmes

16. Luka Connor, 17. Krystal Murray, 18. Tanya Kalounivale, 19. Alana Bremner, 20. Lucy Jenkins, 
 21. Iritana Hohaia, 22. Patricia Maliepo, 23. Martha Mataele


The Welsh squad are under no illusions about the challenge they are taking on, but must feel they are in a far better position to counter the Black Ferns’ threats than they have been for several years.

George’s presence adds another valuable ingredient to Welsh firepower; her right boot can gain them many a metre. But that comes with the usual proviso: a kick is only as good as the chase; they mustn’t allow the Ferns the chance to develop their famed counter-attacking skills.

While Cunningham makes the traditional comments about taking on the opposition ‘in their own backyard’, the Ferns haven’t contested a game in Dunedin for the past 26 years. The arena may be as unfamiliar to several of them as the Welsh.

Two more factors to add to the mix: the Ferns will be itching to put things right after that shock defeat to the French. And they will indeed play in black. Questions were raised about when they last appeared in white: it was slightly less than 26 years ago. You sense they won’t be in a rush to don those colours again.

Match Details:
Saturday 28 October, Forsyth Barr Stadium; KO 16.00 local time; 04.00 UK time